Monday, May 13, 2013

The Big Bang Theory Talks About Love

Article first published as The Big Bang Theory Talks About Love on TheTVKing.

I really enjoy CBS's The Big Bang Theory pretty much every week, but the latest installment, "The Love Spell Potential," sticks out as one of the best of the season. In it, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) finally have a frank discussion about sex.

The growth of these two characters, both as a couple and individually, has been steady and rewarding. When first they meet, Amy tolerates Sheldon, and Sheldon has no thought of romance on the brain. Yet, having spent a lot of time together, they have steadily grown closer and closer.

Sheldon is being honest when he tells Amy that he sees their relationship as intimate. Looking at the other dynamics in Sheldon's life, Amy certainly has more of a foothold on him than anyone. Sheldon does seem to sense value in having her around, and opens up to her. Sheldon always speaks his mind, but there's an added sensitivity when it comes to dealing with Amy. He may say dumb things, but he is much more likely to try to make it up to her after than he is with any of his friends.

Amy's frustration, though, is understandable. Three years is a long time to wait for sexual interaction, and as someone who has experienced it before, of course she yearns for it with Sheldon. Sheldon, having always been celibate (we assume), doesn't have that same knowledge, and so that could be part of the reason for his hesitation. I think when it finally happens for them, he will change his mind about the worth of such practices.

"The Love Spell Potential" ups the ante in their chemistry when Sheldon agrees to see sexual role playing, while fully clothed. His willingness to engage in such actions speak to his slowly coming around to the idea of intercourse. Clearly, he is no longer repulsed by the thought, and is thinking about engaging in coitus for Amy's sake, if nothing else. Sex, in his mind, may be the bullet he has to bite to keep her in his life.

The writing for this entire sequence is top notch, and the two performers bring to life these very specific, nuanced individuals in the best way imaginable. Amy and Sheldon aren't completely easy to relate to, but viewers have come to care about them because the actors do a wonderful job of making them accessible. This week is a fine example of this craft and their talent.

I don't know if The Big Bang Theory will go there soon, but I am confident that eventually it will, and it will completely change the character of Sheldon. I look forward to it.

Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is the one that forces the sex issue to come up for the couple, and at first it seems like she is butting in where she doesn't belong. I do think she does a good thing, though, because despite upsetting Sheldon, it does force him into addressing the issue. And Amy isn't exactly speaking up herself explicitly enough to get through to the dense man until this is pressed. So Penny is a good friend, helping a pair in need.

Besides being moving and emotionally fulfilling, "The Love Spell Potential" is also incredibly funny. Having the girls participate in Dungeons & Dragons makes for a great contrast to the boys' games, and Howard (Simon Helberg) kills with his various impressions, especially Nicholas Cage. Often, The Big Bang Theory keeps the genders separate for certain things, such as game night, but mashing up the two groups works very well here, and comes across as super enjoyable for both the characters and the fans. It should be done more often, in more situations. And Howard should do a lot more impressions.

I'm not as big a fan of the unfolding story of Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Lucy (Kate Micucci, Raising Hope). I enjoy Micucci in general, but I feel like her part in this show may be handicapping Raj a little bit. Raj abandoning his friends is understandable for a guy in his situation, but it's not a recipe for a permanent arrangement. It's nice that the two characters have each other to help them with their problems, but I don't see this working out long-term, nor I do feel Lucy would fold well into the larger ensemble. Perhaps this can be a good growing experience for Raj to help him along the journey towards finding someone he is truly well-matched with.

The Big Bang Theory concludes its sixth season this coming Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. It has already been renewed for a seventh year.

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